Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Muffins : Air Fiction

The Muffins' privately released limited edition second album from 1979, recorded live one side in front of an audience, the other in the studio. Made for a special occasion and sold at concerts and by mail order only. Not as polished as their studio albums, it showcases their less Canterbury, more (often rough and/or humorous) improvisational side. It seems the Muffs themeselves are not very proud of this record, since there is not even a hint of a reissue, nevertheless it's a valuable (and long unavailable) part of the history of this great group.
Note: They've fairly recently reformed after a gap almost 20 years long, and are very active - two new albums, a DVD and concerts, so catch them if you have a chance!

Fiction

Various : Iowa Ear Music

Largely forgotten classic of improvised music from 1976, credited to the Iowa Ear Ensemble but it's in fact more of a sampler - tracks from different sources, different combinations of musicians mostly non-related and collected from a lengthy timespan (1967-76) assembled together to make an organic whole. Not jazz, though it got max rating in Downbeat magazine, closer to the free spirit of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama scene of the time (Trans Museq, Blue Denim Deals, Raudelunas). A never reissued artifact from the time when musical experimentation was truly exciting and groundbreaking and also a great listening pleasure.
You can find at Discogs a detailed lengthy account of who played what, where and when on this record.

Iowa

Fred Frith : Peel Sessions

Prime Frith found recently on the net, never knew it existed. 4 elsewhere unavailable electric guitar solos plus one for violin, recorded for John Peel in December 1974 with Dagmar Krause (vocal on two tracks) and a credited but undetectable Anthony Moore on keys. Similar to his brilliant Guitar Solos album, these are explorations beyond the limits of the guitar. Enough said. A master at work.

Freel